One of the most common mistakes we see that impact a player’s success on the court is their grip choice. It is important to learn the correct grips as the wrong grip can reduce your power, minimise the control of your shots and increase the risk of injury.
The 4 grips used in badminton are:
- Forehand grip
- Backhand grip
- Bevel grip
- Panhandle grip
These 4 grips are all used for different shots, and it’s important to learn and practice each of them so that they become engrained into your game are easy to perform in a match!
The easiest way to learn the forehand grip is to pretend you are shaking someone’s hand.
As you can see from the photo, you want to have this ‘V Shape’, and have a little space between your index finger and middle fingers.
Your fingers should be loosely around the grip, and this is important for all 4 grips. If you are gripping the racket too tightly, then it becomes much more difficult to quickly change between grips when necessary in the middle of a rally. A tight grip will also limit your ability to generate control and power in your shots.
The forehand grip is used for:
- Forehand clears, smashes and drops
- Forehand drives
- Forehand lifts
- Forehand net shots
The easiest way to learn the backhand grip is to set up with your thumb on top of the wider section of the grip, with your strings facing the floor & ceiling like on the photo below. Your fingers should be relaxed around the side.
The backhand grip is used for:
- Backhand drives
- Backhand lifts
- Backhand net shots
- Backhand serves
- Doubles defence
The backhand grip shouldn’t be used when playing backhand shots in the rear-court, we’ll now explain why and show what the correct grip for this is.
To learn the bevel grip you can start in a backhand grip and move your racket head round so that your strings are now facing diagonally, and your thumb is on the ridge / bevel. You would move the racket anti-clockwise from your backhand grip if you are right handed, and clockwise from this position if you are left handed.
The bevel grip is used for:
- Backhand rear-court shots (clears, drops and smashes)
- Some forehand and backhand net shots (depending on your positioning)
- Some singles defence if you are really stretched
You need to have a different thumb position depending on where you are making contact with the shuttle on your backhand side, this is why the bevel grip is used. If the shuttle is level with you or in front you would use a standard backhand grip with thumb on top like in the backhand grip section. If the shuttle is behind you (like it should be when taking a rear-court backhand shot), then you should have a bevel grip grip with your thumb further round. This allows you to play an accurate and powerful shot from this position.
If the shuttle is really far behind you then you should move the grip around to a panhandle grip.
The panhandle grip is where you have the thumb on the side of the racket, pinching the sides with your thumb and fingers in the position shown below.
The panhandle grip is the one that actually comes most naturally to beginners because it’s easy to hit overhead shots with – but contrary to what many players use this for, the panhandle grip is used for:
How To Change Your Grip Quickly
Whilst the amount of different grips there are for different shots may be overwhelming at first, we promise that with some practice you’ll get to a point where changing quickly between these grips comes naturally! So how do you practice changing your grip?
Well we would recommend getting comfortable changing grips without a shuttle first. Visualise certain shots you are playing and what grip you should be in to best perform this shot.
Once you have done this then add in some movement, again without hitting a shuttle! This will help you further get used to changing your grip and becoming more comfortable knowing which grip you should be using for each shot.
If you have completed this stage, or just want to practice speeding up your grip changes as opposed to learning them, then move onto practices with a shuttle.
It may be a good idea to start off with a conditioned routine where you are switching grips after every shot. This maybe playing a backhand defensive shot followed by a forehand defensive shot, or a backhand drive followed by a forehand drive – you could even do these against a wall if you didn’t have anyone to practice with!
You would then advance the routine so that you don’t know which side the shot is coming to. This will help you make the quick grip changes and also the decisions of when you need to change your grip! One example could be when you are in defence your partner would feed to different areas of the court trying to make you switch grips. Another could be where you practice hitting down from the net and your partner is moving you from side to side so you have to practice changing your grips. This is very similar to the previous stage but the shots are now random.
Finally you would try to put these skills to the test in an open routine or even go straight into matchplay.
The best players are so used to changing grips and choosing the right grips they don’t even know they’re doing it – it’s trained into the unconscious mind. And that’s what we want to happen with any technique we learn!
We have recently spoken to a lot of fellow players and many of them aren’t even aware of what grip they use in certain shots, and this is right up to top 10 players in the world! As we said, it’s something that once you learn becomes very natural.
We have also created a YouTube video on this topic, teaching the 4 grips in badminton with demonstrations of how to hold the racket and each shot you would play with the different grips. Check it out here:
We hope you have found this blog post useful, feel free to comment below – we’d love to hear from you!